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The Patty Feist Teaching Award

The Patty Feist Teaching Award was established as a CU Foundation non-endowed fund by Patty Feist in 2010. Patty ran the organic chemistry labs at the University of Colorado as the Laboratory Coordinator from 1985 to 2010. During this 25 year time period, she ran all facets of the organic chem teaching labs, from developing and incorporating new experiments, to acquiring and maintaining instruments, to writing the handbook that covers all student lab techniques, to authoring the Orgchem web site, to doing the daily prep necessary for students to perform the lab experiments.

Each year, a teaching assistant in the Organic Chemistry Teaching Labs who has shown dedication to teaching the undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory courses is awarded the Patty Feist Teaching Award. The recipient is chosen by a committee headed by the director or coordinator of the organic chemistry teaching labs. Additional members of the committee will be selected from faculty members and/or lab staff in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Student input derived from the student evaluations of TA's may be considered, with the recognition that the best teacher is not necessarily the most popular TA.

Qualities to be considered in the selection for this award are the TA who has shown some of the following:


Will Yi, 2018. Will has been a great lab TA for several years now. During the fall semester of 2017, Will was one of the few TAs selected to teach the Organic Chemistry II lab for Majors. He did an excellent job guiding his students along the beginning steps of performing their own synthetic routes out of literature. Many of Will's students have given highly positive feedback about his teaching style, and have asked which sections Will would be teaching in future semesters so they could sign up for his sections.

Thomas Carey, 2017. During 2017, Thomas taught both majors OChem 1 and majors OChem 2 labs. Despite the challenges of switching to the new majors' curriculum in both lecture and lab, he still did a great job of helping students to understand the material and pique their interest in organic chemistry. He makes sure to tie in students’ questions to more interesting topics that are extensions of the usual class material.

Jessica Burl, 2016. Jessica is a second-year TA who has taught both OChem 1 and 2 lab several times over the past year. She is very friendly and down-to-earth, but still goes to great lengths to help her students learn organic chemistry. Jessica does an excellent job of leading her students to solve problems that come up in lab.

Ryan McCaffrey, 2015. Ryan has taught many sections of OChem 1 and 2 lab over the past few years. In all cases, he does a great job of explaining the lab material, and he makes it clear that he cares deeply about his students and their learning and success in the course.

Patrick Chaffey, 2014. Patrick taught a section of OChem 2 lab for majors in spring, which included independent projects. He did an excellent job of providing support and explanations for students without making it too easy - he led them to figure out their own solutions instead.

Mike Springer, 2013. Mike taught majors' 2 lab in spring. He put a lot of work into organizing the parallel synthesis project that took the place of independent projects for the majors this year. He was also really personable and easy for students to talk to.

Jeff Gazaille, 2012. Jeff taught the chemistry majors lab section Spring 2012. He was very good at getting students to work independently on projects and to practice the skills needed for graduate school. He also handled the independent project section of lab very well, giving students rigorous, well-thought-out questions that tested their knowledge.

Tao Gong, 2011. Tao demonstrated impressive levels of awareness, consistent preparation, and ability to follow through on every aspect of teaching despite being in his last year of graduate school. No other graduate student TA showed his level of interest or commitment to the students. He took whichever assignments he was given without complaint and would frequently stay late with one or two students, working closely with them, but not rushing them through so he could leave.  On top of the solid job he did teaching the laboratory course, Tao would hold regular office hours, something that no other laboratory TA managed to find time for. 

Carina Zyzniewski, 2010. Carina taught the chemistry majors' lab course in the spring of 2010. She was very enthusiastic about students learning how to work independently on projects and she helped them develop their abilities in both scientific thinking and writing. Carina obviously liked her experience as a lab TA, often stating that it was the most fun part of her week.